The Sword’s Edge: Obama And Big Oil

I posted this video interview almost 2 years ago here on November 29, 2008, and after the recent and ongoing poisoning of the Gulf of Mexico caused a least I think in part by the regulatory corruption of MMS and the US government by BP and the other oil companies, maybe it’s time to revisit the predictions made in this so long ago.

Antonia Juhasz is the author of The Bu$h Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time and most recently, The Tyranny of Oil: The World’s Most Powerful Industry, and What We Must Do To Stop It.

Juhasz is a policy-analyst and a Fellow with Oil Change International, “a research and advocacy organization that exists to force progress in the energy industry towards an environmentally and socially sustainable energy future”, and the Institute for Policy Studies, a policy studies non-profit think-tank for progressive or liberal causes based in Washington, D.C. IPS work is organized into over a dozen projects, all working collaboratively and strategically to pursue three overarching policy goals: Peace, Justice and the Environment.

She has taught at the New College of California in the Activism and Social Change Masters Program and as a guest lecturer on U.S. Foreign Policy at the McMaster University Labour Studies Program in a unique educational program with the Canadian Automobile Workers Union, and lives in San Francisco.

Antonia talked with Sharmini Peries of the The Real News about whether or not Barack Obama is likely to buck, or back, the most powerful corporations in the world, and whether he’ll continue the same foreign policies that have over the past 60 odd years of “pragmatic” conservative US imperialism nearly brought the empire to it’s knees, drastically lowering the amount of expenditures on liberal social policies.



Real News: November 29, 2008 – 7 min 37 sec

Will Obama rein in big oil?

Antonia Juhasz: Clinton-era deregulation helped big oil get bigger

Antonia Juhasz is also the author of the more recent May 01, 2010 Guardian article BP spends millions lobbying as it drills ever deeper and the environment pays, subtitled “The oil major BP spends aggressively to influence US regulatory insight, and many would argue this has bought it leniency”:

While the explosion of BP/Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig was a horrific event, it was neither surprising nor unexpected.

BP is one of the most powerful corporations operating in the United States. Its 2009 revenues of $239bn are enough to rank BP as the third-largest corporation in the country. It spends aggressively to influence US policy and regulatory oversight.

In 2009, the company spent nearly $16m on lobbying the federal government, ranking it among the 20 highest spenders that year, and shattering its own previous record of $10.4m set in 2008. In 2008, it also spent more than $530,000 on federal elections, placing it among the oil industry’s top 10 political spenders.

This money has bought BP great access and, many would argue, leniency. “I personally believe that BP, with its corporate culture of greed over profits, murdered my parents,” Eva Rowe testified before Congress in 2007. The Congress was investigating the worst workplace accident in the US in more than 15 years, a massive explosion at BP’s Texas City Refinery in March 2005 that killed 15 workers, including Rowe’s parents, and injured 180.

The US Chemical Safety Board, an independent federal agency, investigated the blast and released a devastating indictment of BP. “The Texas City disaster was caused by organisational and safety deficiencies at all levels of the BP corporation,” the 2007 report found. “The combination of cost-cutting, production pressures and failure to invest caused a progressive deterioration of safety at the refinery.”

While experiencing its highest profits in its corporate history, BP implemented budget cuts of 25% in 1999 and 2005 at each of its five US refineries. The safety board found a pervasive “complacency towards serious safety risks” at all of them.

When the next great explosion at a US oil workplace occurred, it was of little surprise to learn that it was, again, BP at fault. It also came as little surprise that the location was the deep offshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Antonia’s book, The Tyranny of Oil, was an investigation of…

…the true state of the U.S. oil industry-uncovering its virtually unparalleled global power, influence over our elected officials, its lack of regulatory oversight, the truth behind $150-a-barrel oil, $4.50-a-gallon gasoline, and the highest profit in corporate history. Exposing an industry that thrives on secrecy, Juhasz shows how Big Oil manages to hide its business dealings from policy makers, legislators, and most of all, consumers. She reveals exactly how Big Oil gets what it wants-through money, influence, and lies.

The Tyranny of Oil offers both a new take on problems and a new set of solutions as Juhasz puts forward an immediate call to action-a formula for reining in the industry, its governmental lobbying power, environmental destruction, and violence while reducing global dependence on oil. Her thought-provoking answers to the most pressing energy questions speak directly to readers concerned about oil and gas prices, global warming, wars for oil, and America’s place in the world. With the major players in the world’s most powerful industry charged with collusion, price-gouging, anti-competitive behavior, and unabashed greed, Juhasz calls boldly for the breakup of Big Oil.

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    • Edger on June 5, 2010 at 7:08 pm
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    hear the words “no one could have anticipated” again…  

  1. Looks like their was a great deal of evidence of “probably will happen”

    Killed Transocean oil worker was fiercely concerned about BP safety standards

    “They were getting pressure from someplace higher up to do things that maybe weren’t exactly the way Jason thought that they should be,” she said. “It was a safety issue.”

    “Jason’s father told us Jason was concerned that BP, which controlled the rig, kept wanting to stray from procedures to finish the well faster, which Jason considered unsafe,” Myers reported.

    Without investments in alternative energy, we are all slaves to the oil cartels.

  2. Thanks for the excellent article Edgar.

    Unfortunately, I think the enemy is in the mirror.  BP pulled the trigger, but all of us who consume petrol products hold the gun.

  3. is way bigger than Obama.

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